According to the DNDi and MSF analysis, three of the four brand-new medicines approved for neglected diseases in the past decade were for malaria, with none for the 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), nor TB. Furthermore, as of December 2011, only 1.4 percent of a total of nearly 150,000 registered clinical trials were focused on neglected diseases.
The conference is taking place 10 years after MSF hosted a major conference in New York to examine the crisis in R&D for neglected diseases and lay the groundwork for the creation of DNDi in 2003. In a 2001 study carried out by MSF and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group, the precursor to DNDi, only 1.1 percent of new drugs approved between 1975 and 1999 were for neglected diseases, including NTDs, malaria, and TB, though they accounted for 12 percent of the global disease burden. Fatal Neglect, a new, six-part documentary film project, tells the stories of millions of patients affected by these diseases.
Some individual successes have emerged from the proliferation of global R&D actors over the last decade. For example, product development partnerships (PDPs) were responsible for over 40 percent of neglected disease products registered between 2000 and 2011, including new TB diagnostics and malaria combination treatments.
“There have been advances, but for many diseases we have yet to see the kind of ‘game-changers’ that are truly needed,” said Dr. Bernard Pécoul, executive director of DNDi. “Product develop
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